Notre Dame successfully screens the bottom of the zone
I have had several posts highlighting how screening a zone can be a successful action against the zone (see here and here). One screen that is under-utilized is screening in a shooter in the corner. I briefly touched on it here with Belmont but Notre Dame ran it beautifully tonight.
Coming off an offensive rebound, Ben Hansbrough reset the Irish offense against a 2-3 zone. He called for a ball screen on Maalik Wayns on the right wing, which would be set by Scott Martin. Villanova (mainly Corey Fisher) realizes what is coming and calls out the shooter running baseline to the corner.
The key to this play is how Hansbrough slowly dribbles the ball over to the right wing, as if he is going to use the screen from Martin. As you can see, the defense begins to shade over to that side of the court, as evidenced by the fact that the Mouphtaou Yarou, the left block defender, has both feet in the paint. This opens him up to be screened in, allowing the shooter to get open in the corner.
You can’t really see it in the frame, but Tim Abromaitis is running baseline as Hansbrough is dribbling the ball to the right. Again, the goal is to have the defense focused on the right side of the court, with the play actually going to the left corner. Jack Cooley sets a great pick on Yarou on the block and Abromaitis is open in the corner. Abromaitis is able to sneak behind the defense since they are focused on Hansbrough at the top of the key. Don’t undersell the pass made by Hansbrough, as he delivers a cross court skip pass right to Abromaitis that allows him to catch and shoot in rhythm.
Looking at the three posts to I linked above and this play, you have several different ways a team can screen a zone to get an open look. I really like the action to screen in a shooter in the corner and Notre Dame showed it well in their 3 point barrage against Villanova.